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Teamwork. . . Oamaru Volunteer Fire Brigade members (from left) Darryl Hansen, Neil Gibson and Hayden Hastie display their trophy haul from the season. Mr Gibson holds the latest trophy the team won at the South Island Waterway Challenge, in Mataura. PHOTO: TYSON YOUNG

Hard work, determination and team spirit helped a three-man Oamaru team win the South Island Waterway Challenge for the first time last weekend.

Darryl Hansen, Neil Gibson and Hayden Hastie, from the Oamaru Volunteer Fire Brigade, made up one team that competed in the Mataura event.

The challenge pits teams from volunteer fire stations around the South Island against each other in various challenges that put their hose-running and pump-operating skills to the test.

The aim is to get gear set up and blast a target with water in the fastest possible time.

A few errors were allowed in the challenge, but any mistakes made were deducted from a team’s overall points.

“It was make or break,” Mr Hansen said.

The Oamaru team managed to win five runs out of eight featured in the event.

Along with two thirds and a fourth, that was enough to earn the Oamaru team 82 aggregate points and the competition win.

Initially, there were a few “hiccups” for the Oamaru firefighters.

However, after sorting out their problems and claiming a few wins, they knew they had the competition in the bank.

“Once we had a couple [of wins], we sort of knew we could get the rest of them,” Mr Hansen said.

Over the years, the team has made lots of contacts within the firefighting community.

“We’ve got some really good friends around the country,” he said.

Practice with fire hoses on a near-daily basis gave the team the upper hand in the competition .

“We train quite hard in competition training,” he said.

Local support from the community in Oamaru also helped boost the morale of the team.

“We’ve got a lot of support around town. The support that we’ve had around here has just got bigger and bigger.

“This was quite a special thing for us. We’ve run for a long time to get there.”

Mr Hansen said the team would also be competing at next year’s event, and would start training in earnest in August.

“It won’t take long before we’re back in the park.”